I-205 bikepath blockage

This is looking back south on I-205 Bikepath north of Sandy under railway overpass. Been there over 2 weeks. Dangerous as it’s on downhill section when heading north Narrow single track passage due to tents is often blocked by campers outside their tents. Path needs to be closed or marked with caution signs or ask campers to move. Called it in today. Was told it’s been reported before. They’ll try to get someone out in a couple of days. I’m aware no camp relocation during Covid and don’t really care except when they create potential dangerous situation. If you use this path to get to Marine Drive please be very cautious as campers seem unaware and may step into your path.

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I’ve had some really close calls in that spot. I can’t help but wonder if the camp would be relocated if it were in the middle of Powell or Burnside.

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Thanks for sharing Bobcycle. This is such a frustrating and complicated problem. In case you or anyone wasn’t around last year we covered this in great length on the Front Page and even got a detailed response from PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly.

At this moment in time, the system is like a lot of other things: There is a number to call to report concerns and then the gov’t responds. These camps on paths have been moved several times and they always come back. There really is no place for these folks to go and the overhang is nice shelter from elements.

There’s a measure on the ballot to fund more shelter and help for our homeless neighbors. That will be a big help! I’d also encourage everyone to read up on the homeless response policy for all the candidates in local elections on your ballot right now and vote accordingly.

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It was still there on Monday, May10

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Still there Friday afternoon the 15th. Narrow and dangerous. Trash, bike frames, and parts on the path. Be very careful.

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I wouldn’t expect anything to change quickly.

There are camps all over town and when they get swept they just set up close by (sometimes literally within stone’s throw distance)

The comprehensive solution everyone wants isn’t going to happen in the foreseeable future. As a stopgap, just keeping the camps small and dispersed seems a practical start. That way the people in them and the people who live nearby get used to each other.

The city needs to be more assertive about keeping the paths clear with an understanding that the touch will be much lighter if an understood buffer is maintained.

This is a serious safety problem, a major disincentive for cycling, and a factor that significantly reduces support for separated infrastructure.

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Once upon a time there was a number to call at the City to report problems. Then there was an app. Anyone know how to get the City’s attention now?

You can report at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/campsites and you can also look up reports at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/toolkit/71771

They do respond based on reports, but don’t expect miracles. It’s a huge and complicated problem that’s not going away.

thanks for the links

https://www.portlandoregon.gov/toolkit/

I found that page yesterday when searching out some stuff about Jonathan’s “CotW: Moderate position…” article. It’s a very good touchstone for many resources on the homeless/camping issue in Portland.

Same problem at Division, and at Burnside.

One thing to keep in mind is that sweeps have been “cut back” since the COVID-19 shutdown began:

the program will continue clearing out campsites that pose the greatest public health risk. Those are camps that score above a 65 on a risk assessment test, which takes into account factors such as the amount of trash on site, the presence of human waste and evidence of drug use, according to Lewis. In the past, he said, the office had singled out campsites that scored a 51 and above.

I finally just stopped riding that stretch. It’s a shame, but all those sketchy, crowded overpasses and the 205 traffic noise always kinda put a bad taste in my mouth, sometimes literally. So now I just cut out at maywood and go north on 99th. It avoids the prescott overpass, sandy/205 off ramp “canyon” and overpass, and one of the crossings at sandy & killingsworth. There’s a curb hop at the north end of 99th. If I’m headed east to troutdale, I just cut over on Shaver to 112th, then up to Marx street and east to 122nd, then up to Marine Drive.

It’s a shame we have to avoid these spots, but lately the 205 path has been the bad part of my otherwise fun rides. That part of the path really is an afterthought, and doesn’t work in these trying times as the nature of an overpass means it provides shelter and spots to camp.

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It really is sad. I used the path for the first time in ages a few weeks ago because it seemed like the best route to get back from where I was. I regretted it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6zhjSPo9io

I have really appreciated Jonathan’s writing on this topic over the last few years. He mentions here that “There really is no place for these folks to go”. As I have been out in the last few days it seems to me that the number of people sleeping outside has really expanded with the crisis, or maybe it’s just more visible with fewer sweeps.

There are about 4-5,000 people in Portland who don’t have stable housing (and seemingly growing) and that are going to be camping in the meantime. Shouldn’t we be figuring out some campground set ups with access to bathrooms, laundry, showers, etc.? I voted for the measure that passed this week and I’m all for longer term affordable housing development. At the same time I feel like we need to be doing a better job of figuring out a place for people to stay in the meantime that is safer, cleaner, more humane than the 205 bike path.

And this isn’t just a Portland problem. I have personally witnessed a homelessness problem in places including but not limited to: La Grande, Milton/Freewater, Bandon, Oakridge, and Salem.

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I like the approach that mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone and others are proposing… That is, creating more sanctioned and formal/regulated camps throughout the city similar to existing camps like Dignity Village. This is a model that seems to work well, we just need to be more aggressive in making more of them. I feel like local leaders are just ignoring the immediate crisis and talking about more shelter space/housing. I’d like to see more boots-on-the-ground in terms of social workers organizing folks into more sustainable camps and then see the investment (I’m sure private orgs would contribute) in more formal camps. Of course this means people have to agree to good locations, which is a sticking point but I believe good leadership could help lead a more positive discussion to get more support.

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As the old saying goes: you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make 'em drink.

As I recall, Dignity Village has a fairly stringent set of rules that one must follow in order to join their community, Right 2 Dream has guidelines too. Given the activity we’ve all witnessed on the MUPs, I wonder how many folks will be willing / able to meet the requirements of any “formal/regulated” city camp operation. Certainly some percentage will prefer the freedom of street camping, as long as it’s tolerated.

Yes of course. I agree. We need to work harder to not only give people quick/temporary places to live but to also create the conditions for the vast majority them to live there. This is always political. Right now one reason people are anti-sweep (beyond the fact that they don’t trust authorities to do it humanely and actually humane sweeping is an oxymoron) is because there’s nowhere else to put folks. If there were a bunch of verified/organized/regulated camps in place it would take some strength away from that argument.

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Still there today. The population has grown while the width of the path between the debris is very narrow and the length of the debris along the path has increased.

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I went through this spot a couple weeks ago. There was someone who was sitting on the trail, with some stuff piled on the other side, right under the overpass. I said “coming through” several times and got sworn at. Not good.

I wouldn’t mind if the campers kept the trail clear.

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Over the past few years I’ve been chased off the trail, been obstructed on purpose, even had a large knife flashed at me, all for the audacity of ringing my bell politely or even just making eye contact. The last thing I want is a physical confrontation, but I’m not ready to surrender our paths to threats and intimidation. I just want to pass safely without crashing into a person, dog, etc. Is that too much to ask?